To most people, riding a bicycle is something you learned how to do, but never did. Those people are boring quitters! However, just like those boring quitters, Harry Mechitaryan, until recently, couldn’t care less about sitting on one of those painfully narrow rock-hard seats.
Surprisingly, all it took to change his mind was a simple ride with a friend who had a spare bike. “Struggling up La Tuna Canyon’s fire road and falling face-first down the single trails in the back was an adventure that left me starving for oxygen and addicted to adrenaline,” says Mechitaryan.
In a world where technology has made most of life’s activities almost effortless, biking offers a simple, healthy, and fun way to bring some activity back into your life.
For those who enjoy such thrills and a challenging workout, mountain biking is a perfect fit. Fortunately, for California residents, mountain biking originated here and our many mountains offer a wide variety of trails.
For those who are not on the mountain biking scene, mtbr.com offers everything one would need to know. This website has information on every detail of mountain biking, from reviews on bikes and bike parts, to reviews on trails. One can also visit the forms section of the website to converse with fellow bikers on any topic.
As people “Supersize” their meals and minimize their physical activity, they maximize the chances of serious health ailments such as heart attacks and strokes. When all that has to be done in order to have some serious fun and stay healthy is to sit, pedal, and try not to fall (although it’s fun to sometimes) how can one say no?
“Biking is a life saver. I love biking. I go every chance I get,” says Fernando Oleas, a 45-year-old professor at Pierce College. “I was on a beginners hiking trail with my wife and two daughters, and half way up I had to tell my wife to call an ambulance because I had pain in my chest.” Luckily, Oleas had survived what appeared to be a minor heart-attack. “From that day on, I’ve been on two wheels and don’t plan on getting off anytime soon,” he proclaims. As an avid mountain biker, Oleas frequents La Tuna Canyon’s fire road and Mt. Wilson’s mountain bike trails. Since picking up biking as a hobby, he has had no complaints of pains like the ones he felt during his heart attack.
Furthermore, as the very world we love finds itself under fire from global warming and ocean acidification – both of which are caused by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, biking offers a priceless ally. Biking is quite frankly a very green activity. Think of it this way, while most vehicles produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide, bicycles don’t produce any.
According to a 2006 study conducted by the Energy Information agency, the United States was the second largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, falling second to China, which has the largest population in the world. Also, the price of gas these days has skyrocketed so much that biking as a means of commuting is becoming more and more common as people try to save money wherever possible.
So, in biking we have found an activity that can save your life, save you money, save the planet, and is one hell of an adrenaline rush – not to mention that you can do it almost anywhere, anytime. Interestingly enough “Bicycling is the sixth most popular U.S. recreational sport, after walking, camping, swimming, bowling, and fishing,” according to “mrbike,” also known as Dave Glowacz. Glowacz’s website, mrbike.com, states that “the number of U.S. adults who bicycle regularly grows by over a million each year.” The question is, will you be a part of that number?
If your answer is still no, take a look at the parking situation at Glendale Community College. Even with a new parking structure, GCC has a parking problem that is so annoying that some students have written essays showing their growing disgust. So what does parking have to do with biking?
All you have to do is pay a visit to either UC Santa Barbara or UC Santa Cruz to find out. The closer you get to these campuses the more you will notice that there are fewer vehicles and an unusually large volume of bicycles. Reasons for this include high parking fees and a very limited availability.
To help get around the limited parking issues that GCC students also face, many students of UCSB and UCSC have adopted bicycles as their primary means of transportation to and from school. As a matter of fact, to help encourage this idea, UCSC offers free bicycle rentals for its students. As an added bonus, students who bike to school get to park for free, saving money for more urgent needs such as school supplies and books.
To find out why more GCC students don’t bike to school some were asked what was keeping them from biking to school. Although various responses were received, the most common answer was “it would feel weird.” Apparently public perceptions towards cyclists are negative enough to dissuade students from biking. One possible solution to this would be for the GCC to start supporting this idea and make it easier for students choose a bike over a car by offering additional incentives.
Another common response was “I don’t feel that my bike is safe when it is locked up because bikes get stolen all the time.” According to Glowacz, “the FBI says that more than 1,300 bikes are stolen every day in the U.S. – almost half a million bikes a year. And in some big cities, such as parts of Chicago, up to seven bikes are reported stolen on an average summer day.” Maybe if there were a secure area with a guard so students could check their bikes in and not have to worry about someone stealing them, more students might chose to ride rather than drive in. Another option would be to buy a cheap bike nobody would want to steal and ride that to school.
Either way, biking is a fun activity which has more benefits than many people know. Hopefully, now that you know, you may be able to make the right decision.
To help promote biking, the city of Glendale named May “Bike Month,” with a public ride-along bike tour called the “Historic Ride.” Bike Month continued through May with various bicycle-related activities, concluding on Wednesday May 26th with “Making Long Beach Bike-Friendly and What It Means for Glendale.”
For those who were unable to participate in this year’s “Bike Month,” more information along with a full list of activities hosted by the event is available at http://la-bike.org/glendale/bikemonth.